A Comparison of Echocardiographic Findings in Young Adults With Cardiomyopathy: With and Without a History of Methamphetamine Abuse

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Methamphetamine is currently the most widespread illegal stimulant abused in the United States. No previous reports comparing echocardiographic findings of cardiomyopathy with and without a history of methamphetamine abuse are available.


We performed a single institution retrospective review of medical records and analyses of echocardiographic findings in patients ≤45 years of age hospitalized between 2001 and 2004 who were discharged with a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy or heart failure. After exclusion of patients with coronary artery disease or severe cardiac valvular disease, the remaining patients were divided into 2 groups based on their abuse or non abuse of methamphetamine, as determined by the documented history in the medical records or urine toxicology testing.


Among a total of 59 patients, 28 (47%) had a history of methamphetamine abuse or positive urine toxicology. Both methamphetamine abusers and non-abusers were predominately male (64.3% vs 64.5%, P = .99), and had a high prevalence of obesity (55.6% vs 73.3%, P = .16). Bivariate analysis revealed significant differences between the methamphetamine abusers and non-abusers in left atrium volume (119.7 ± 55.4 ml vs 85.8 ± 33.5 ml, P = .008), left ventricular end-diastolic volume (201.9 ± 71.4 ml vs 156.6 ± 63.1 ml, P = .01), left ventricular end-systolic volume (136.0 ± 53.7 ml vs 92.3 ± 55.8 ml, P = .004), right ventricular dimension (26.3 ± 6.0 mm vs 21.3 ± 6.0 mm, P = .007), and quantified left ventricular ejection fraction (32.9% ± 11.3% vs 44.6% ± 17.8%, P = .004).


We found a high prevalence of methamphetamine abuse in our study population. Methamphetamine abusers had echocardiographic findings of more severe dilated cardiomyopathy compared with non-abusers.